4. Helenium vernale Walter, Fl. Carol. 210. 1788.
Savanna or spring sneezeweed
Perennials, 30–80 cm. Stems usually 1, usually unbranched distally, weakly winged, glabrous proximally, glabrous or sparsely hairy distally. Leaves usually glabrous, rarely sparsely hairy; basal blades obovate to narrowly oblanceolate, usually entire or undulate to un-dulate-serrate; proximal and mid blades usually narrowly lanceolate to narrowly oblanceolate, usually entire, sometimes toothed; distal blades lance-linear, entire. Heads 1(–3) per plant, usually borne singly. Peduncles 2–23 cm, usually glabrous, sometimes sparsely hairy. Involucres hemispheric, 10–17 × 15–27 mm. Phyllaries glabrous or sparsely hairy. Ray florets 13–30, neuter; corollas yellow, 15–21 × 5–10 mm. Disc florets 150–650(–800+); corollas yellow proximally, yellow to yellow-brown distally, 4.6–6 mm, lobes 5. Cypselae 1–1.5 mm, glabrous; pappi of usually 8 entire or lacerate, non-aristate scales 1.5–2 mm. 2n = 34.
Flowering Mar–May. Ditches, other moist areas such as wet woods, bogs, and swamp edges; 10–50 m; Ala., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.C., S.C.
The name Helenium nuttallii A. Gray is illegitimate; it has been applied to plants treated here as H. vernale.